Absolutely Unforgettable: Vancouver Military Dinner spreads awareness for charity
Tags: Regional stories
By Lieutenant (Navy) J.D. Lura
A group of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members, veterans, and civilians attended the 5th Annual Vancouver Military Dinner on May 12, raising an expectation-shattering $10 000 for Wounded Warriors Canada with a charity auction.
Guest speakers from Maritime Forces Pacific and Whole Way House Vancouver, an organization that supports vulnerable citizens and veterans in the downtown eastside of Vancouver, delivered moving speeches. The evening also featured delicious food, good-natured banter, and the sharing of stories.
Vancouver businessman Scott Martin has always been fascinated by military traditions. In 2014, he reached out to his friend, CAF reservist Mark Adams, and asked him to invite his military friends to a formal dinner at the historic Vancouver Club. The resulting evening was a resounding success.
“There were about 12 of us, lawyers, mining executives, soldiers and navy guys off a ship that was docked downtown,” recalls Martin. “Everyone had a great time, and our friends couldn’t stop talking about the experience for weeks after; we all learned so much.”
Intent on replicating the success of that evening, Adams and Martin began hosting the Vancouver Military Dinner on an annual basis, with the goals of increasing CAF awareness among the city’s professional community, and raising money for Wounded Warriors Canada.
Following three more events, they decided to take things to another level for 2018. “We have a lot of talent and connections in our personal and professional circles,” explains Adams, “and we know that the people who live and work in downtown Vancouver can be very generous for a good cause. Our thinking was that if we grew, tapped into some of that expertise, and stepped up our fundraising efforts, we could achieve something incredible.” Enlisting the help of friends, including a CAF public affairs officer, a local ophthalmologist, and a veteran of the conflict in Afghanistan, the organizing committee set about their task.
“The entire evening was amazing,” says Jenny Konkin, the evening’s civilian guest speaker. “This was my first military event, and I have never been so nervous to speak in my life. I hold these amazing people who serve our country in such high regard. But I got through it, learned about some very cool traditions, toasted the Queen, and witnessed deep camaraderie among our soldiers. Absolutely unforgettable!”
“I’m proud of what we’ve achieved, but none of us will be resting on our laurels,” explains Adams with a smile when asked about next year. “We don’t want to get too big – intimacy is a critical part of our success – but we already have some ideas to enhance the experience. Stay tuned.”
More information on the Vancouver Military Dinner can be found on Facebook, at facebook.com/vanmildinner.
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